Adapted from ACNS
The Task Group set up by the Primates’ Meeting in 2016 has met in London this week with an emphasis on understanding diversity within the Anglican Communion, and recognizing areas of unity.
The Most Rev. Richard Clarke, Archbishop of Armagh and chairman of the group, said it has been a positive and fruitful discussion.
“We have been developing a greater understanding between us of the diversity within the Communion,” he said. “But, significantly, we have been seeing the many, many areas of commonality.
“It has not been a theological discussion. Instead, we have been examining what differences mean at a practical level. In particular, we looked at marriage practices and relationships in different parts of the Communion. But we also looked at the spiritual dimensions of the idea of walking together.”
The Most Rev. Josiah Idowu-Fearon, secretary general of the Anglican Communion and secretary of the task group, added that it has discussed how the authority of primates and bishops is practiced in different parts of the Communion.
The group was established in January 2016 by the Archbishop of Canterbury at the request of the primates. It has the task of restoring relationships, rebuilding mutual trust and responsibility, healing a legacy of hurt, and exploring deeper relationships. The group met for the first time last September.
Seven of the nine-member group met this week. Canon Elizabeth Paver and the Rt. Rev. Paul Sarker were unable to attend.
The Most Rev. Philip Freier, Primate of Australia, said it was significant that the meeting followed so closely after Easter. He said that was a moment when the Church reflected on the paradox of Jesus’ powerlessness on the cross and his glorious victory in the resurrection.
Presiding Bishop Michael Curry of the Episcopal Church built on that reference:
“After that Easter, the disciples walked together on the road to Emmaus. They didn’t recognize Jesus walking with them, yet they kept walking together. And, of course, in time, they realized exactly who he was.
“We have committed to walking together with each other — talking, listening and seeking to understand each other. I believe we will see the risen Christ walking with us as we deepen our relations with each other.”
Canon Rosemary Mbogo from the Anglican Church of Kenya said: “I feel that this week has built on what we did when we met last autumn. On that occasion, we began to establish working relationships. Now we are developing those relationships and exploring each other’s perspectives.”
The group will provide an interim report for the Primates’ Meeting at Canterbury in October. It hopes to meet again in the spring of 2018.